The Fort Oglethorpe hospital had estimated a March loss of $351,306. Over the past six months, Hutcheson has lost $7 million, according to a March financial report.
“March was a difficult month,” Hutcheson CEO Roger Forgey said in a news release. “We treated a substantial amount of patients unable to pay for their medical care.”
Hutcheson managed to keep some expenses under budget, such as salaries and supplies, according to hospital controller Denise Baker. Operational costs were $386,312 under budget, Baker said.
Baker told committee members the hospital had a daily average of 23 acute care visits, five less than was budgeted. In March 2011, Hutcheson had a daily average of 38 acute care visits.
Surgeries were down, according to Baker. Hutcheson projected 555 surgeries for March, but only 329 surgeries were performed last month. In March 2011, 559 surgeries were performed.
There were 45 births in March, seven less than was budgeted, according to Hutcheson’s March financials. Last March the hospital had 48 births.
However, the adjusted number of patient days was more than was expected, Baker said. In March, the hospital had 2,872 patient days, 164 more than was budgeted.
Outpatient visits rose to 6,633 in March, 393 more than last year, according to the hospital’s monthly finance report. And there were 243 more emergency room visits this March than last.
Hutcheson entered into a management agreement with Erlanger Health System in May 2011. Hutcheson has so far received $9.9 million of a $20 million credit line from Erlanger. The Fort Oglethorpe hospital serves patients in Catoosa, Walker and Dade counties.
Hutcheson is striving to improve its fiscal health by cutting costs and expanding services to patients, hospital officials said.
“We need the support of north Georgia residents and physicians with referrals and admissions,” Forgey said. “We are rebuilding our physician base and controlling our costs, but we need the entire support of this community for this hospital to be successful.”